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Is there a variance? enter but his door,
271 Balk'd are the courts, and contest is no more. Despairing quacks with curses fled the place, And vile attorneys, now a useless race.
B. Thrice happy man! enabled to pursue What all so wish, but want the power to do! Say, O what sums that generous hand supply; What mines to swell that boundless charity ?
P. Of debts and taxes, wife and children clear, This man possess’d-five hundred pounds a year. Blush, grandeur, blush ! proud courts, withdraw your Ye little stars! hide
[blaze! B. And what ! no monument, inscription, stone ? His race, his form, his name almost unknown?
P Who builds a church to God, and not to fame, Will never mark the marble with his name : Go, search it there, where to be born and die, Of rich and poor makes all the history; Enough that virtue fill'd the space between, Proved by the ends of being to have been. 290 When Hopkins dies, a thousand lights attend The wretch who, living, saved a candle's end; Shouldering God's altar a vile image stands, Belies his features, nay, extends his hands ; That live-long wig, which Gorgon's self might own Eternal buckle takes in Parian stone. Behold what blessings wealth to life can lend ! And see what comfort it affords our end. In the worst inn's worst room, with mat half hung, The floors of plaster, and the walls of dung, 300 On once a flock-bed, but repair'd with straw, With tape-tied curtains, never meant to draw, The George and Garter dangling from that bed, Where tawdry yellow strove with dirty red, Great Villiers lies—alas! how chang'd from him, That life of Pleasure, and that soul of whim! Gallant and gay, in Cliveden's proud alcove, The bower of wanton Shrewsbury and love;
Or jast as gay at council, in a ring
His Grace's fate sage Cutler could foresee,
Say, for such worth are other worlds prepared ? Or are they both, in this, their own reward ? A knotty point to which we now proceed, But you are tired—I'll tell a tale-B. Agreed.
P. Where London's column, pointing at the skies Like a tall bully, lifts the head and lies,
340 There dwelt a citizen of sober fame, A plain good man, and Balaam was his name; Religious, punctual, frugal, and so forth : His word would pass for more than he was worth. One solid dish his week-day meal affords, An added pudding solemnized the Lord's :
Constant at church and 'change; his gains were suro His givings rare, save farthings to the poor.
The Devil was piqued such saintship to behold, And long'd to tempt him, like good Job of old; 350 But Satan now is wiser than of yore, And tempts by making rich, not making poor.
Roused by the prince of air, the whirlwinds sweep The surge, and plunge his father in the deep; Then full against his Cornish lands they roar, And two rich shipwrecks bless the lucky shore.
Sir Balaam now, he lives like other folks, He takes his chirping pint, and cracks his jokes · *Live like yourself,' was soon my lady's word; And, lo! two puddings smoked upon the board. 360
Asleep and naked as an Indian lay, An honest factor stole a gem away: He pledged it to the knight; the knight had wit, So kept the diamond, and the rogue was bit. Some scruple rose, but thus he eased his thought, I'll now give sixpence where I gave a groat; Where once I went to church, I'll now go twiceAnd am so clear too of all other vice.'
The tempter saw his time : the work he plied ; Stocks and subscriptions pour on every side, 370 Till all the demon makes his full descent In one abundant shower of cent per cent, Sinks deep within him, and possesses whole, Then dubs director, and secures his soul.
Behold sir Balaam, now a man of spirit, Ascribes his gettings to his parts and merit; What late he call'd a blessing, now was wit, And God's good providence, a lucky hit. Things change their titles, as our manners turn: His compting-house employed the Sunday morn : 380 Seldom at church ('twas such a busy life,) But duly sent his family and wife. There (so the devil ordain'd) one Christmas tido My good old lady catch'd a cold, and died.
A nymph of quality admires our knight; He marries, bows at court, and grows polite; Leaves the dull cits, and joins (to please the fair) The well-bred cuckolds in St. James's air: First, for his son, a gay commission buys, Who drinks, whores, fights, and in a duel dies : 390 His daughter flaunts a viscount's tawdry wife; She bears a coronet and p-x for life. In Britain's senate he a seat obtains, And one more pensioner St. Stephen gains. My lady falls to play: so bad her chance, He must repair it; takes a bribe from France; The house impeach him, Coningsby harangues; The court forsake him, and sir Balaam hangs : Wife, son, and daughter, Satan! are thy own; His wealth, yet dearer, forfeit to the crown: 400 The devil and the king divide the prize, And sad sir Balaam curses God, and dies.
TO RICHARD BOYLE, EARL OF
Of the Use of Riches. The vanity of expense in people of wealth and quality.
The abuse of the word Taste, ver. 13. That the first principle and foundation in this, as in every thing else, is good sense, ver. 40. The chief proof of it is to follow nature, even in wurks of mere luxury and elegance. Instanced in architecture and gardening where all must be adapted to the genius and use of the place, and the beauties not forced into it, but resulting from it, ver. 50. How men are disappointed in their most expensive undertakings, for want of this true foundation, without which nothing can please
long, if at all; and the best exainples and rules will be but perverted into something burthensome and ridi. culous, ver. 65 to 90. A description of th: false taste of magnificence; the first grand error of which is, to imagine that greatness consists in the size and dimen. sion, instead of the proportion and harmony of the whole, ver. 97, and the second either in joining together parts incoherent, or too ininutely resembling or in the repetition of the same too frequently, ver. 105, &c. A word or two of false taste in books music, in painting, even in preaching and prayer, and lastly in entertainments, ver 133, &c. Yet Providence is justified in giving wealth to be squandered in this manner, since it is dispersed to the poor and laborious part of mankind, ver. 169. [recurring to what is laid down in the first book, Ep. ii. and in the Epistle preceding this, ver. 159, &c.] What are the proper objects of magnificence, and a proper field for the expense of great men, ver. 177, &c. And finally the great and public works which become a prince, ver. 191, to the cnd.
The extremes of avarice and profusion being treated of in the foregoing Epistle, this takes up one particular branch of the latter, the vanity of expense in people of wealth and quality; and is, therefore, a corollary to the preceding, just as the Epistle on the Characters of Women is to that of the Knowledge and Characters of Men. It is equally remarkable for exactness of method with the rest. But the nature of the subject, which is less philosophical, makes iš capable of being analysed in a much narrower com pass.
'Tis strange, the miser should his cares employ